For nearly a decade, Dell has counted on Salesforce to enable its worldwide selling teams. Eventually, however, the Texas-based company started to see a disconnect between its platform and its salespeople.
“I remember walking into a meeting with a customer in Pittsburgh and asking our account executive for the account plan, and there was just silence,” recalls Bobbi Dangerfield, Vice President for Global Sales Operations at Dell and a 16 year veteran at the company.
“I opened Salesforce and of course none of the information was entered. I walked into a situation where the CIO was upset with us because we couldn’t give him the reporting he asked for. We couldn’t tell him when their equipment would be installed. It was kind of a mess.”
It was a classic scenario where employees were underutilizing the tools designed to help them gain a holistic view of their customers. The Salesforce platform they logged into had also grown complex over the years with custom code.
“Back when we first began using Sales Cloud, a lot of the features we needed were not available, so we relied on custom code to supplement our experience,” says Steve Brown, Executive Director for Channel, Sales, and Marketing at Dell.
Dell realized it needed to simultaneously increase Salesforce usage while optimizing the platform in order to achieve the goal of developing a 360-degree view of its customers.
With this in mind, Dell became laser focused on delivering the very best resources for its sales teams, whether they’re in the office or on the road. Dell wanted to revolutionize its sales productivity across the entire platform, which is what led to a five-year investment in Salesforce that included opting for Advisory Services.
Advisory Services brings in Salesforce’s best minds in CRM and organization leadership to help customers realize everything their Salesforce platform can offer. A Salesforce Business Architect stepped in to help Dell executives to make the modifications needed for Dell to gain customer insights they yearned for while developing a roadmap with clear, prescriptive actions to undertake.
“Today it’s significantly easier for me to go to a customer, open up their account in Salesforce, and understand what I can do to help the conversation,” says Dangerfield.
Salesforce’s mission is to connect companies to their customers in a whole new way, and Advisory Services is designed to help companies do this by setting best practices and transferring knowledge. The Business Architect that worked with Dell identified the need for a digitized experience for sellers and provided guidance to streamline the platform and remove the customizations that had since become standard Salesforce features.
Advisory Services also recommended a reduction in the number of platform instances, methods for accelerating internal release cadences, strategies for growing internal expertise and guidance in maximizing selling resource efficiency. Doing this gave Dell more agility in the development cycle, a better user experience and a healthy Salesforce ecosystem.
“With fewer instances and a more optimized selling environment, the time required for overhead tasks like refreshing sandboxes was reduced by more than 50 percent. Launching a new feature on Dell’s primary instance alone now reaches 95 percent of sellers simultaneously all over the world, increasing agility and giving sellers faster access to the new features they desire.” says Brown.
“With the support from our Salesforce Advisor, we have successfully implemented a new Salesforce seasonal release feature review process and cadence to optimize usage of the standard platform. We are very proud of ourselves on our ability to also begin planning our Lightning migration journey with continuous knowledge sharing and training from Salesforce Advisory Services,” Brown adds.
Overall, we gained better value on our investment and have made Salesforce an even more essential part of the selling process for Dell team members all over the world.
“The number of team members using Salesforce in the selling process has doubled since implementing our advisors’ recommendations,” says Dangerfield.
Another way Dell saw Salesforce Advisory Services yield success was through a recommendation to implement Salesforce1. Its mobile-friendly tools empowered Dell’s salespeople in the field by increasing their productivity while eliminating pain points.
“Our sales teams all over the world told us they wanted to access Salesforce when their laptops couldn’t. Having a way to enter information and utilize Salesforce from a smartphone boosted productivity and left us with a lot of thank-you notes.” Dangerfield adds.
Similar productivity gains were seen as Salesforce Advisors coached teams on how to best use Chatter to yield greater employee engagement and collaboration. “100 percent of Dell employees are on Chatter, and Michael Dell himself uses the platform to regularly communicate with other executives and teams,” notes Brown.